By Julius Kane
Stop playin' 'Good Times' was better than 'The Cosby show' for real; the first three seasons before the father's character was killed off, anyway. You can run around town and act like you're embarrassed of 'Good Times' but I sure as hell ain't. A couple of so called critics even said 'The Cosby Show' was a "real depiction of a Black family." Again, stop playin'. How realistic is it even in WHITE AMERICA for a doctor to be married to a lawyer, have half a dozen kids and they all go to college? What did 'The Cosby Show' teach you? Sure, it made you wish for a better life and smashed a lot cultural stereotypes. But 'The Cosby Show' wasn't the best Black television show of all time; not by a long shot. In actuality 'The Cosby Show' was the best Black television show for White folks to watch. It allowed White folks to see a much different side of the Black experience and gave Black folks faces, places and images they could be extremely proud of.
70 % of Black Americans then and now can relate to 'Good Times'. I sure as hell learned more watching the Evans family then I did from the Huxstables. 'The Cosby Show' went well out of its way not to address any social, political or racial issues. Meanwhile almost every episode of 'Good Times' was relevant and spoke to subject matter that directly effected the Black community. But now, in their efforts to please White folks a lot of you are praising 'The Cosby Show' as if anything that happened in their house happened in your house; you wish! Have you forgotten- for the first few seasons 'Good Times' stayed away from stereotypical fare, but instead had a timely and often blunt message in its script. But almost every episode of 'The Cosby Show' was about an affluent Black couple raising bourgeoisie children and having rich folks problems. Sure, it was funny but un-relatable.
In the meantime 'Good Times' introduced you to Black Jesus, told you how to watch out for venereal diseases,taught you about high blood pressure,questioned the validity of school tests, talked about the chasm between blacks going to school with whites and so on. One episode even showed the Black father going to snatch his son up from the clutches of a street gang. But the most important message in 'Good Times' was the family; and the Black father as the head of the household and the Black mother as the neck. James Evans ( John Amos) never gave up on his family and when he was down he always got back up. He not only taught that to his children but to every Black child in America that watched the show. 'The Cosby Show' pretended racism didn't exist but 'Good Times' faced it head on.
Bill Cosby may want to get up on his soap box now that he's filthy rich and talk trash about what ills Black America but for eight long years he kept his mouth shut and took Black America to la-la land. He carefully catered his show to white folks and secondly to Black folks. Cosby kept his mouth shut and got paid; cool,do you. But you can't take anything away from the prototype and the strong Black cast who became Norman Lear's sacrificial lambs; the black balled and B-listed cast of 'Good Times' who sometimes went months without getting paid. They stood for something other then money. Anyone who says 'The Cosby Show' is the greatest Black show of all time hasn't watched Everybody Hates Chris, Roc, The Bernie Mac Show, or The Boondocks.
The cast of 'Good Times' were harassed, threatened and pressured constantly early on by Norman Lear to play out negative, degrading scripts; which they refused to do. Lear eventually fired John Amos and forced Ester Rolle out. She returned, but the show was never the same. Norman Lear not only wanted the sitcom to have a single mother, but he wanted every black stereotype you can imagine written into the show. And we've all seen the effects of negative Black images on television. After robbing Eric Monte of his ideas, stealing his royalties, black balling him and predicting positive images of a Black family would fail; the show became a big hit!
'The Cosby Show' continued to be a vehicle used to impress white America; which it did. And by jumping on 'The Cosby Show' bandwagon you're still letting white America decide what's best for you. I liked both shows but in actuality you wouldn't have had 'The Cosby Show' if it wasn't for 'Good Times.' I salute the cast and creator (Eric Monte) of 'Good Times' for standing up for themselves and for all of us; God knows they didn't have to. It's funny, but I can still hear John Amos now.... " Good Times was recorded live before a studio audience." Damn that brings back some memories. They sure as hell don't make Black actors like that anymore!
Taken from theunexpurgatedtruth.blogspot.com
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